Barack Obama and the Solution that Wasn’t

June 19, 2010

Two days ago, Obama delivered his first speech from the Oval Office to a country that desperately wanted to know what was being done to address the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What he delivered, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann, was a speech that could have described another country on another continent on another planet. Perhaps even a time and place long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Certainly, he discussed the many efforts the government has undertaken to address this disaster. And to the average, uninformed citizen, Obama would have left the impression that something was being done, even from Day 1.

It’s true that since the oil spill, Obama has been very busy. After all, there’s so much to do.

For instance, since day one, Obama has played at least 7 rounds of golf. He has welcomed at least 4 sports teams to the White House including the New York Yankees, the Duke men’s basketball team, UConn women’s basketball team and the Navy football team.

He has attended at least 3 fundraisers, one of which was held for Barbara Boxer on the same day as the memorial service for the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. I suppose keeping Barbara Boxer’s Senate Seat was more important. Oh, and did I mention that he attended a party with the Getty Oil family that day too?

Obama has even been on two vacations. Not to mention that Tom Strickland, chief of staff for Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, went on a “work-focused” trip that includes whitewater rafting in Arizona on Day 8 of the oil spill.

But let’s not forget that since the oil spill, President Obama has met with very important dignitaries like President Calderon of Mexico, sports analyst Marv Albert, Bono, and most importantly, Paul McCartney. However, it wasn’t until day 58 that he met with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and BP CEO Tony Hayward.

As much as Obama would love for us to believe that he has his “boot on the neck” of BP and that he is demanding to know “whose @$$ to kick,” it seems that he has other irons in the fire. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. President.

In sharp contrast with his actions over the past 59 days, Obama’s speech offered the illusion that he is in control of this massive disaster. Furthermore, he is begging us to believe that his cap-and-trade legislation will somehow address this monstrosity. The reality is that it simply will not. I believe Governor Bob Riley of Alabama said it best: “If my house is on fire, I don’t need the fire chief telling me I should not have built the house out of wood.  I need somebody to put the fire out.” We don’t need cap and trade, we need to “plug the d@mn hole” (to quote Obama) and clean up our shoreline.

Also, we shouldn’t have rejected assistance from the Dutch when they offered it to us days after the rig exploded. We should have repealed the Jones Act and let our allies help us with this disaster.

It is downright shameful of this president to use the oil spill as leverage to foist his economically inhibitive policies on our country. Cap-and-trade will not clean the oil from our shores. Cap-and-trade will not directly prevent disasters like this from happening. Cap-and-trade will not accelerate scientific advances in clean energy. Why on earth should we pass such legislation?

We must ask ourselves: does it make sense to throw more money at a government who has failed, as a result of bureaucracy and not a lack of money, to clean up our shores in a timely manner? Unfortunately, instead of concerning themselves with the actual oil spill, the White House is apparently more concerned with never letting “a crisis go to waste.”

Article first published as Obama and the Solution that Wasn’t on Blogcritics.


A Timeline of Obama’s Reaction to the Oil Spill

June 17, 2010
Back in 2005, President Bush was routinely criticized by the left-wing media for his handling of Hurricane Katrina. But in less than a week, he made it down to the gulf to survey the damage. Obama took nearly two weeks to view the areas affected by the oil spill. Let’s take a look at how busy our President has been throughout this crisis:

Day 1: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes, killing 11 workers.

Day 3: The Netherlands government offers skimmers and other equipment to protect American shores. The Obama administration rejects the offer.

Day 4: Obama attacks Arizona’s immigration law, then goes on vacation in NC with a round of golf included.

Day 5: Another round of golf for Obama.

Day 7: Obama welcomes the New York Yankees to the White House.

Day 8: Tom Strickland, chief of staff for Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, goes on a “work-focused” trip that includes whitewater rafting in Arizona.

Day 10: Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declares a state of emergency in Louisiana. Obama pledges “every single available resource” to take care of the spill, then attends a DNC fundraising dinner.

Day 11: White House says that there will be no drilling allowed in new areas until the cause of the explosion is known

Day 12: Obama attends White House Correspondents Dinner.

Day 13: Obama visits the gulf coast.

Day 14: Obama hosts the Navy football team at the White House.

Day 16: Obama hosts Cinco De Mayo party at the White House.

Day 19: Tar balls are found in Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Day 20: Obama delivers commencement speech at Hampton University.

Day 21: Obama nominates Elena Kagen for Supreme Court Justice.

Day 22: Another round of golf for Obama.

Day 24: Obama attends DCCC fundraiser.

Day 25: Obama criticizes oil companies for their “ridiculous spectacle” before Congress.

Day 26: Obama goes golfing.

Day 27: Obama golfs some more.

Day 28: Obama hosts UConn women’s basketball team.

Day 30: Oil makes landfall in Louisiana. Obama hosts state dinner for Mexican President Calderon.

Day 31: Obama meets with Bono.

Day 32: Obama addresses Wall Street reform at the White House Rose Garden.

Day 33: Obama golfs at Andrews Air Force Base.

Day 34: Governor Jindal announces that he’s tired of waiting for federal approval to build sand booms and that he will proceed without it. Obama discusses basketball with Marv Albert.

Day 35: The size of the oil slick reaches 30,000 square miles, enough to cover an area the size of Hawaii 3 times.

Day 36: Memorial service is held for the 11 men killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Notably absent: Barack Obama. Obama attends fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in California, as well as a party with the Getty Oil family.

Day 38: The amount of oil leaked reaches 38 million gallons. Obama hosts the Duke basketball team at the White House.

Day 39: Obama visits the Gulf Coast for the second time, saying “I am the president and the buck stops with me.”

Day 40: Obama heads to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend vacation.

Day 41: Obama goes to the gym in Chicago.

Day 43: Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs states that he has seen “rage” and a “clenched jaw” from the President over the oil spill. The Department of Justice launches criminal probe of the oil spill.

Day 45: Obama says he is “furious” about the oil spill, then rocks out with Paul McCartney at the White House.

Day 46: Obama makes 3rd trip to the Gulf Coast since the explosion. Oil makes landfall in Florida.

Day 47: Oil hits Alabama beaches.

Day 50: Obama says he would fire Tony Hayward, CEO of BP.

Day 55: Obama plays golf.

Day 58: Obama finally meets with BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

And you wonder why so many people want to be president…


Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama?

June 4, 2010

On the campaign trail, Obama was portrayed as a moderate, willing to extend the olive branch of bipartisanship. Then he became known for his views on the redistribution of wealth, revealing himself to be a liberal. Next, he was branded a socialist. But was he ever thought to be scandal-ridden and incompetent? Not until now.

In a time where Obama would do well to seem calm, collected, and in charge after a knock-down, drag-out fight over healthcare, the chinks in his armor are beginning to show.

BP and Barack: A Love Story

Despite what Ken Salazar, Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, has said about keeping a “boot on the neck” of BP, Obama’s actual dealings with BP seem to indicate otherwise. In fact, out of all of BP’s contributions to federal candidates, the President ranks #1 among its recipients. I suppose this conflict of interest might make it more difficult for him to apply pressure with that size 13 1/2 heel. Oh, why do we always hurt the ones we love?

His hesitance to do anything at all in the midst of this crisis (besides hang out with the Duke basketball team and Bill Clinton) bears a strong resemblance to the left’s caricature of a supposedly uncaring President Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. However, while Bush only took a mere four days to physically arrive at the scene, Obama’s arrival to Louisiana took nearly two weeks.

Is it a lack of compassion? Is it incompetence? What is it that keeps Obama at the point of being so stupefied? At any rate, something needs to happen before James Carville blows a gasket over this.

I’ll Have Mine Chicago-style, Please

At press time, there are two scandals on the horizon where the White House has dangled the carrot of federal jobs to Democrats in primary races for political reasons. Apparently, Obama didn’t learn much from the Blago scandal, but I suppose the Chicago culture is so ingrained in the mindset of the White House that it’s difficult to resist.

The first case involves Joe Sestak, a Democrat who challenged and prevailed over the Obama-backed Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania. Supposedly, the White House via Bill Clinton offered Sestak the position of Secretary of the Navy if he would drop out of the race. He probably should’ve taken it, considering that he could still lose to Pat Toomey in November.

The second instance involves Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff being offered an unknown position if he would drop his challenge to Senator Michael Bennet. Apparently, it’s pretty lucrative to challenge sitting Democratic congressmen in the primaries. Are there any other positions open that you’d like to tell us about, Mr. President?

From FDR and JFK to Carter and Nixon?

Obama was supposed to be a legendary president in the mold of FDR and JFK. After all, BHO does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Instead, he has taken up the policies of Carter with the transparency of Nixon. Will “I’m not an ideologue” become the next “I am not a crook”?

In record time, Obama’s presidency has taken a turn for the worse. Between a massive oil spill (resulting from a rig that won a Safety Award from his administration) and two back room deals, will the Obama administration survive politically until 2012? Some don’t think so.

This November could simply be the last nail in the coffin for his hopes of a two-term presidency unless he significantly alters course.

Article first published as Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama? on Blogcritics.


Obama: The Worst President Since FDR

March 11, 2010

I know what many of you are thinking: “But FDR got us out of the Great Depression. FDR signed the Social Security act. FDR helped us win World War II. He was a good president!”

A good president? Yes and no.

Now while I would not be one to discount his leadership in World War II or many of the other positive things he accomplished, instead what I intend to look at is the result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economic policies, specifically the ones he implemented to get us out of the Great Depression in comparison to Obama’s economic policies today.

Certainly there are parallels between the two presidents from the outset. Both began their administrations after an unpopular Republican president. Both faced dire economic circumstances in the early parts of their administrations (though for FDR, the problems were arguably much greater than they are today). And both of them sought to bring about major social change through their respective government programs.

One thing that is interesting to note about FDR’s administration is that he actually implemented some of the policies of his predecessor, Republican president Herbert Hoover. How can that be? FDR bringing about the same things as the dreaded Herbert Hoover? It’s true. Just ask FDR’s advisor Rexford Guy Tugwell:

We didn’t admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

This is unusual considering that FDR ran on a platform of cutting taxes, cutting government, and balancing the budget. In contrast to Hoover’s Revenue Act in 1932, which doubled the income tax rate and was the largest tax increase in peacetime history.  The ideas that FDR campaigned on were actually quite good. However, just like with Obama, campaign promises and actual policies were two different things to FDR. He raised the top income tax rate as high as 90 percent. In the same vein, just last year, Obama has proposed to increase the top income tax rate as well, although fortunately not to 90 percent like FDR did!

And just as FDR followed Hoover’s bad policies, Steve Forbes points out that Obama is following Bush’s bad economic policies, which ironically run counter to that of FDR’s:

What is most astounding about President Barack Obama’s radical economic recovery program isn’t its breadth, but its continuation of the most destructive policies of the Bush administration. These Bush policies were in themselves repudiations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mr. Obama’s hero.

Both presidents also share a fondness of elevating the public sector. InThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes points out that the New Deal eroded the private sector, while lifting the public sector:

Evidence from that period suggest that government was crowding out the private sector. The Tennessee Valley Authority, for example, dealt mortal blows to a private employer that wanted to electrify the South… For every state-relief job created, about half a private-sector job was lost.”

Since Obama has taken office, private sector jobs have decreased and public sector jobs have increased.

A few interesting excerpts from the diary of Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury under FDR, are also very revealing:

“…we have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work… We have never made good on our promises…. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… and an enormous debt to boot!

That sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? A 2004 study by Harold Cole & Lee Ohanian at UCLA concludes that FDR’s “ill-conceived stimulus policies” prolonged the Depression by seven years. They also said that the New Deal “short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

But back to Morgenthau’s comment on unemployment. In spite of the New Deal, the unemployment rate during the Great Depression never got below 14%. Obviously, the New Deal had little to no effect on the staggering unemployment that faced our country. Just like the New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has failed to affect unemployment. In fact, unemployment numbers have gone up since the stimulus, despite the White House’s predictions.

Just like FDR, Obama is prolonging our recession. Now personally, I think Barack Obama is more like Jimmy Carter: a miserable failure of a president that needed to be ousted after 4 years of dreadful economic policies. But perhaps like Carter, the American people will find themselves repeating history by voting Obama out in 2012. Only time will tell.

-Originally posted on BlogCritics.org


Obama the Delusional

January 26, 2010

In 2008, Barack Obama ran as many politicians do, with the “I’m on your side, let’s stick it to the man” campaign rhetoric. After 8 years of a generally unpopular president, Americans were sympathetic, believing that Obama’s Alinsky-inspired “hope” and “change” themes were genuine. And to Obama, perhaps they were. But like so many celebrities and superstars, he bought into his own hype. Now, “hope” and “change” are themes that can be associated with the deliverance from Obama’s policies.

The first evidence of Obama’s ignorance to the opposition to him was when he made little, if any acknowledgement of the tea party demonstrations that took place across the country. The organic uprising of ordinary Americans across the country requesting fiscal sanity was simply written off as “astroturf” instead of “grass roots.”

When November rolled around, Democrats suffered major losses in two major governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey. Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that the president was not “watching returns.”

After Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, Obama responded by saying: “Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts but the mood around the country: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into offices. People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years but what’s happened over the last eight years.” Let’s break down Obama’s assessment. He claims that American voters chose him, a liberal candidate bent on changing the Republican/Bush establishment, then decided they wanted to elect a Republican in one of the more liberal states in the nation because they were sick of the last eight years. How does that begin to make sense?

Surely, Americans are dissatisfied with the status quo, but the status quo is not George W. Bush and the Republicans anymore. It is Barack Obama with a Democrat-controlled congress, a congress that may not be Democratic for much longer.

Recently, Congressman Marion Berry from Arkansas declared that he would not seek re-election. He said he had tried to warn Obama about the upcoming 2010 election, saying that it could be a repeat of 1994, when the Democrats lost both Houses of Congress. Obama replied saying “Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.” Is it arrogance that leads Obama to this conclusion, or is it that he has become delusional?

Maybe Obama was right. Perhaps he truly convinced Americans to “stick it to the man.” The only problem is that he is now “the man.”


The Democratic Party: Do They Not Understand What’s Happening?

January 22, 2010

In November of last year, many Democrats downplayed the gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey. Ever the optimist, Nancy Pelosi even pointed to the Democratic victory in NY-23 as proof that the night of November 3rd was really a triumph for the Democrats instead of a rejection of Obama’s policies. Conventional wisdom among the DNC, reinforced by most polls at the time, supported the idea that Ted Kennedy’s seat would be safely held in the liberal hands  of Martha Coakley. But they were wrong then…and they’re wrong now.

As hesitant as they may be to listen to their sworn enemies at Fox News like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, the Democratic party would do well to pay attention to the advice they have to offer: watch out because the Obama agenda is not popular right now. But yet, the liberal Democrats say he’s not liberal enough. Some moderate and conservative Democrats seem to understand what’s going on, but some still think they can pass a reduced health care bill, essentially a “Diet ObamaCare,” (less fat, but it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth) in order to appease the public.

Remember how Chris Matthews gushed over Obama, talking about a thrill running up his leg whenever he heard him talk? But now, observe this discussion between Chris Matthews & Howard Dean.

In case you’re wondering, I’m loving every minute of this.

And on top of it all, the Democrats want to raise the ceiling on the national debt by $1.8 trillion. When Clinton lost both Houses of Congress in 1994, he moved towards the center and passed wellfare reform and balanced the budget. It appears that the times have changed.

So what’s going on with the Democratic party these days? Have they lost their minds? I understand that the Scott Brown victory has left many of them hysterical, but I can’t say I expected them to react with such lunacy.

My theory is that the euphoria surrounding the Obama victory in 2008 left them starry-eyed and full of unfounded optimism. Finally, they had put forth a formidable candidate that had prevailed after eight long years of George W. Bush. Never mind the fact that John McCain was the absolute worst candidate for the Republican party since Bob Dole. The honeymoon could only last so long.

With a supermajority in Congress and a Democratic president, there should have been no problem passing through some of the legislation that they had always dreamed of, including universal healthcare, the holy grail of the Democratic party. But between the stimulus, the omnibus, the bailouts, cap and trade, and a bloated, expensive healthcare bill, Americans had had enough.

Of course, in spite of recent victories, the GOP still faces an uphill battle considering that they are 9 seats away from breaking even with the Democrats in the Senate, not to mention an even larger deficit in the House. Fortunately, most polls support what those recent victories have already indicated: a wave of conservativism sweeping the country. Harry Reid has been consistently behind his potential GOP challengers. Pat Toomey is currently leading Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania by as much as 9 points. Barbara Boxer is facing a possibly significant challenge in California. Blunt is ahead of Carnahan in Missouri. The GOP candidate for Senate also leads in Ohio and North Dakota. But if Brown’s victory in Massachusetts has taught us anything, polls can change.

However, the fact remains: there’s trouble brewing for the DNC. The possibility of losing the House and Senate looms in their future. All this talk of a Democratic party in decline brings to mind a few buzzwords of the 2008 election: Hope and Change.


Analysis of the Scott Brown Victory in MA

January 20, 2010

Could anyone have ever dreamed of a more unusual scenario? The seat held by Ted Kennedy for over 40 years has now been replaced by a Republican in Massachusetts.

The Stage was Set

Let’s rewind to 1994. In the midst of a surge sweeping across the nation against the Democratic majority after a Clinton victory in 1992, in Massachusetts, a man named Mitt Romney dared to challenge the lion of the Senate himself: Ted Kennedy. But while Romney managed to lose by the second smallest margin in Kennedy’s nine elections, the score was a 17-point difference: 58 to 41.

By 2004, Romney was governor of Massachusetts. In an effort to avoid a Romney-chosen senator should Senator John Kerry win the White House, the Democratic majority of the Massachusetts state senate passed legislation that would keep the governor from being able to appoint a U.S. Senator until a special election was held.

But in 2009, with a Democratic governor in place, the Democrats reversed the legislation to allow a Democrat to be appointed to replace Ted Kennedy after he died. Before his death, Kennedy had even requested the reversal himself. After Kennedy’s death, Paul Kirk was appointed to replace him. The seat remained in the hands of the Democratic party.

On November 3rd of that year, GOP candidates Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie won the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, respectively. Both states had Democratic governors.

That same month in Massachusetts, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley led Republican Scott Brown by as much as 31 points. The Kennedy family endorsed Coakley to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. At that point, it appeared obvious that the seat will continue to be in Democratic control.  After all, in Massachusetts, Democrats outnumber Republicans by as much as 3 to 1. But independents outnumber Democrats in the Bay State. And the hypocrisy of the Democratic party had worn down the respect of their constituents.

The Meteoric Rise of Scott Brown

Through a series of gaffes by Coakley herself, Scott Brown began to rise. Coakley’s numbers started to drop. Whether it was the pointless sparring with Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling or the arrogant and elitist opposition to schmoozing with hockey fans at Fenway Park, Coakley couldn’t seem to keep her mouth shut. If that wasn’t bad enough, her claim that terrorists no longer reside in Afghanistan certainly didn’t buy her any foreign policy points.

But in spite of Coakley’s best efforts to sink her own campaign, it still seemed unlikely that a Republican would be the one to replace Ted Kennedy. However, in early January, a Rasmussen poll revealed that Coakley’s lead narrowed to a single digit margin, albeit a 9 point margin.

In a debate with Coakley, Brown was asked how he could sit in Ted Kennedy’s seat and vote against the healthcare legislation that Kennedy had fought so hard for in his career. Brown responded, “With all due respect, it is not Ted Kennedy’s seat. It is not the Democrats’ seat. It is the people’s seat.”

For some reason, the wind was suddenly at Brown’s back. Perhaps even to the surprise of some Republicans, Brown was gaining momentum. Rasmussen’s next poll had him losing by only 2 points. A Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll had him up by 1. Coakley’s lead was vanishing before her very eyes. In the latter polls of the campaign, it was fully erased, replaced by as much as a 15 point margin of victory for Brown according to PJM/CrossTarget.

On the night of January 19th, Coakley delivered her concession speech. Brown had won 52 to 47.

Is Brown the New Face of the GOP?

Perhaps it’s a bit early to say that Brown is the face for the GOP brand. Typically, Republicans require dues to be paid before its leaders are rewarded with a  higher status. It took Ronald Reagan several years to become a major voice in the party, having lost to Ford in 1976 before winning the nomination in 1980. But if there’s one politician whose own meteoric rise could provide Brown a pathway for an early entry into the presidential fray, it would be none other than Barack Obama.

Obama was  still a state senator in Illinois back in 2004 when he delivered the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. He was elected as a U.S. Senator later that year. By February 2007, he had declared himself a candidate for the White House.

Brown was also a state senator when he won his U.S. Senate seat. While it may seem the least bit unlikely, Brown could very well be among the names floated for the 2012 GOP nomination.

But even if Brown did find himself amidst the field of candidates in the GOP primary, he would probably not win the support of many social conservatives. While Brown remains to the right of most Democrats on abortion, he is still essentially pro-choice. This would prove to be a rather difficult hurdle to overcome should Brown have loftier aspirations.

An Unusual Victory, A Glimmer of Hope

To say that Brown’s victory is historic would be an understatement. The Bay State has not had a Republican U.S. senator since 1978. Kennedy’s seat hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1952.

If he is seated soon, Scott Brown will bring a screeching halt to the Democratic supermajority in the U.S. Senate, thus being the one man who can dissolve the liberal dream of Obamacare.

It seems evident that there is a trend in America towards the right. A trend towards smaller government. A trend towards fiscal responsibility. A trend against runaway spending. A trend towards transparency in government.

Last night, the people of Massachusetts spoke to the nation about the kind of government they want. If this type of sentiment is displayed there, in the bluest of blue states, it will not end with them.

Finally, it seems that America may be correcting its course.


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